Can I have my ex-landlord use the deposit as last months rent?

We lost our jobs and couldn’t pay our rent so we moved out in that month and cleaned the house to where someone else could move in the next day. I told our landlord that we have no money and to use the deposit to cover last months rent. She said no!!! And threatened to file a police report. What can I do. She also said she will garnish my wages once I get a job.

Asked on July 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Generally speaking, a security deposit is used for damage to a rental but in California a landlord can indeed apply it to unpaid rent.  And if you have not caused any damage to the apartment other than normal wera and tear - which I hope you can prove with pictures, etc., - then you should be fine.  Can the landlord sue you?  Yes, but you have defenses here.  Although it was her right not to agree in the end it may work out fine.  Good luck.

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